SARASOTA, FL – The Sarasota YMCA Achievers program recently awarded college scholarships to this year’s high school graduates as well as to college students who participate in the program. More than 150 community members – including the scholarship recipients and their families, YMCA and community leaders, Advisory Council members, and Achiever program participants – were in attendance for the celebration luncheon, which took place at Michael’s On East.
The Sarasota YMCA Achievers program empowers students to set and achieve goals in both their educational and personal lives, encouraging continuous growth in the areas of personal development, college preparation, community service and leadership, cultural enrichment, and career options. The program, which has served the community for 28 years, is open to all middle and high school students in Sarasota County.
Program participant Jaela Dennis, a rising senior at Booker High School, served as the Mistress of Ceremonies. Booker High School rising junior Zionna Williams entertained the guests on saxophone while they ate breakfast, then Ausiana Laguerre, a rising junior at Sarasota High School, greeted the attendees, Achiever Antonio Salmeron gave the invocation, and then the awards were presented by Achievers education outreach services program director Jone Williams and program coordinator Daisy Saunders.
Graduating seniors who received scholarships were Emily Arenas Castillo, Moenasia Beall, Todd Bellamy, Suzette Dimas, Zhameera Fuller, Bryson Gregory, Kiara Harris, Destiny Hugine, Travis Mathews, Zykeil Mathews, Ashley Mayes, Liam Ordonez, Reggie Perry, Consuelo Quintana, Brentaya Reed, Jada Robinson, Madison Sosa, Diamond Sutton Ireland, Eric Vega and Yesenia Williams. Fifteen program participants who are currently enrolled in college received continuing education scholarships.
Special honors were accorded to: program volunteer Izzy Laguerre, who works with youths involved with the Sarasota YMCA’s Achievers, Youth Shelter and Triad Alternative School programs. Booker High School Principal Dr. Rachel Shelley was honored for her enthusiastic support of the Achievers program and her passion for ensuring all students are college and career ready before they leave Booker. Recent graduate Madison Sosa, who has been highly engaged with the program, was recognized for always going the extra mile to help with events and programs.
“Pushy Parents” Reggie and TaNieka Perry, Victor and Maritza Sosa, and Naquila Gregory were recognized for being supportive of their children and encouraging their involvement in Achievers activities.
“For the past 28 years, our Achievers program has helped to set up area students for scholastic and life success,” said interim president & CEO Steve Bourne. “This program helps students to be better students, to gain a better understanding of which careers they might wish to pursue, to gain greater self-confidence, and become more involved in their community. We congratulate our scholarship and award recipients, and offer our gratitude to those who volunteer and sponsor in support of the Achievers program.”
Sponsors of the Achievers program include Publix Super Markets Charities, Sarasota County, and United Way Suncoast. For more information, go to sarasotaymca.org/achievers.
About the Sarasota YMCA
The Sarasota YMCA is committed to strengthening the community: through youth development by nurturing the potential of every child and teen, through healthy living by improving the community’s health and well-being, and through social responsibility by giving back and providing support to our neighbors. Every day, we work to make sure that everyone – regardless of age, income or background – has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. For more information, go to sarasotaymca.org or call (941) 951-2916.